When I finally mastered the art of making perfect poached eggs every single time (and the art is pretty dang easy), I figured I had crossed the final frontier, egg-wise. I can poach, I can scramble, I can fry, I am all set on egg preparation for the rest of my born days. Except, I didn’t really know know to make perfect fried eggs. Sure, I thought I did…but I didn’t. It took me never-you-mind how many years to realize that changing just one little thing about how I was frying my eggs was going to Rock My World. Fried-egg-wise. So if you are as dedicated to the pursuit of the perfect fried eggs as I am, read on!
Back in the BPFE era (Before Perfect Fried Eggs), I would grab my handy little frying pan, turn the heat on to medium, add some butter and/or olive oil and when things were looking nice and hot, I would crack in a few eggs. Things would snap and crackle when the eggs hit the hot oil. The whites would start to get golden and lacy on the edges when things were just about done, and if I was feeling extra sassy I would flip them and make ’em over easy. And life was good. Sure, I tended to leave the chewy edges of the egg white on my plate, but for the most part my eggs were just fine.
And then I heard about a method that was rumored to take eggs from just fine to PERFECT. So I got me some eggs…
…and I got out my same skillet, and I got out my same olive oil, and I got out my same salt and pepper that I always use. But this time I put the olive oil into that skillet while it was still cold. And I cracked my eggs into that skillet while it was still cold, and sprinkled them with sea salt and cracked pepper while it was still cold.
Then I covered the skillet, turned the heat to medium low, and let things cook for exactly six minutes.
When I uncovered the skillet, the yolks were their usual perfect creamy selves. But the whites – those egg whites that are usually crunchy and chewy all around the sides? They had all blended together, and the edges were as delicate and soft and fluffy and wonderful as the center. IT WAS AN EGG MIRACLE.
So much of a miracle that I made them for lunch again the next day, this time sprinkled with a little oregano and teeny dollops of goat cheese. And again with a little tarragon and parmesan. And they were perfect every single time.
I feel like this is the kind of thing that I should have known for years, and that my talented chef friends know like the back of their hands because this is the kind of thing they tell you about on Day One of cooking school. For me, I’m just going to chalk it up to the fact that you CAN teach an old dog new tricks.
Let’s fry some perfect eggs!
- 4 eggs
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- A generous grinding of black pepper
- A teaspoon or so of your favorite dried or fresh herbs (optional)
- A couple of tablespoons of your favorite cheese, shredded or torn into pieces (optional)
- Pour oil into a cold frying pan and swirl it around until the bottom is coated.
- Crack the eggs carefully into the pan, keeping the yolks intact.
- Sprinkle the salt and pepper over the eggs, along with the herbs and cheese if you are using those.
- Cover the pan and turn the heat on to medium low. Cook for 6 minutes with no peeking! This will produce eggs with creamy runny yolks - leave them on for another minute or two if you like them more well done.
- Run a knife between the eggs to separate them, slide them out of the pan onto plates and serve at once.